Poker rooms are rated on a 1 to 5 chip scale. Please note that the rating is for the poker room, not for the casino as a whole. In general, rooms can earn 1 chip in each of five categories:
- Game selection (poker rooms which regularly offer mixed games, stud, omaha, and hold 'em may even get more than a 1 chip rating for this section)
- Decor, layout, design
- Professionalism / Experience of Staff
- Amenities / Parking
5 chip rating Edit
A Casino rated at 5 chips is an outstanding casino in nearly all respects. It offers excellent service, a much broader range of games than merely Limit hold 'em, is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and has continual action at three or more limits at all times.
A 5-chip casino is an excellent place to play. The atmosphere and decor may or may not be to everyone's taste, but significant effort has clearly gone into the design of the room. It is not in a "bad part of town" or otherwise dangerous to play there. It is kept clean continually by a crew of porters; food and/or cocktail service is relatively prompt; multiple floorpeople and brushes ensure that there are always official casino personnel nearby to settle disputes or handle problems of any kind. Dealers and floorpeople are generally very experienced and run games with a sure hand.
Parking is plentiful; amenities on the casino floor are present (usually TV's mounted on the walls, free beverages of some sort, etc).
A 5-chip casino is a top of the line place to play poker, in the same league as the Bellagio. It is a first-quality poker room.
4 chip rating Edit
A 4-chip casino is close to a 5-chip rating but is not quite there. It misses being an outstanding place to play poker and is merely "really good". It may be slightly smaller than a 5-chip casino would be, with a narrower selection of games. It may have nonexistent or boring decor, or uncomfortable seats. It may have only limited food or beverage service, or some rude or inexperienced dealers or management.
4-chip casinos must be open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and have continual action at two or more limits at all times. 4-chip casinos must offer more than merely Limit hold 'em, but it is possible that they may offer only one or two other games.
It is kept relatively clean but may take up to 30 minutes to clean away finished food or other trash; food and/or cocktail service is available but may not be particularly prompt or courteous; it must have at least two management personnel on site at all times, but one may be doubling as both floorman and brush while the other acts as cashier (for example).
Parking is available but may not be plentiful; amenities on the casino floor are present (usually TV's mounted on the walls, free beverages of some sort, etc).
A 4-chip casino is one that would not be out of place somewhere off-strip in Las Vegas. It's not as large or fancy or full-service as a main strip hotel's poker room, but it is still a very pleasant place to play poker.
4-chip casinos often have other attributes making them worth a special trip for a poker aficionado: particularly interesting decor or history, for example, or an unusually large and/or varied jackpot structure.
3 chip rating Edit
A 3-chip casino is an acceptable place to play poker, but is not particularly extraordinary or interesting. Lack of game selection is the usual reason a casino rates only 3 chips; 3-chip casinos may not even spread games other than Limit hold 'em (though they would have to be very nice casinos in other respects to earn 3 chips).
3-chip casinos may be closed at some hours during the week, but must be open at least 80 hours a week (approximately 12 hours a day) to qualify. They may have no amenities on the floor (no TV's, etc), and may have no food/cocktail service, though they must have some form of refreshment available and make some effort to provide it (it can't just be "There's a McDonald's next door").
Atmosphere may be somewhat off-putting. Possibly smoky, or otherwising distracting or slightly annoying. It can't be dirty, but it may be worn or run-down. Parking may be limited or even nonexistent.
2 chip rating Edit
A 2-chip casino is beginning to become a local cardroom and less of a casino. it is usually quite small (6 tables or less), and may be closed for 40 hours or more a week. Unless it is the only poker room in the area, it generally only attracts a group of regulars. There may be some amenities available, but not many.
Cocktail/food service is generally unavailable at this level, though the regulars may decide to place a gang order and have someone go out and get it. The tables and chairs are often worn, the decor is essentially nonexistent, and jackpots are skimpy or rare.
1 chip rating Edit
A 1-chip casino is merely a place where poker is played. Generally, poker players will play here only if they are regulars themselves (and are hence playing with friends) or it is the only game within a reasonable driving distance. It has two or more of the following major defects that make it a generally poor place to play poker:
- Closed most of the hours of the week, or if open, no games are playing
- No food or cocktail service.
- Only one game type is played, generally (though not always) Limit hold 'em.
- Poor cleanliness in surroundings
- Rude or inexperienced (unfamiliar with the game rules) dealers or management.